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The One Marketing Strategy You Can’t Afford to Ignore with Mark Schaefer

February 27, 2023
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad-fit client again!.

The rise of AI-generated content means that personal branding is more important than ever. But how do you create a brand that truly resonates with your audience?

On this episode of The Recognized Authority, Mark Schaefer and Alastair McDermott share their insights on the power of personal branding and community building in marketing. Discover how to create an emotional connection with your audience and build a brand that drives long-term success.

Learn how AI is revolutionizing the way marketers create content that resonates with customers, and learn practical steps you can take to build a thriving community of loyal followers.

They also share insights into the importance of creating a sense of belonging and purpose in your marketing efforts, and how this gives your business a competitive edge. Whether you’re a seasoned campaigner or just starting out, don’t miss this episode!

Show Notes

Guest Bio

Mark Schaefer is a globally recognized keynote speaker, educator, business consultant, and author. His blog {grow} is hailed as one of the top marketing blogs in the world.

Mark has worked in global sales, PR, and marketing positions for more than 30 years and provides consulting services as Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions.

Mark is also well-known for developing corporate marketing strategies and marketing workshops. His clients range from successful start-ups to global brands such as Adidas, Johnson & Johnson, GE Life Sciences, Pfizer, The U.S. Air Force, and the UK Government.


people, community, gpt, marketing, alastair, book, creating, world, mega trends, podcast, events, chat, ai, mark, customers, listening, pandemic, linkedin, thinking, metaverse

Alastair McDermott, Voiceover, Mark Schaefer


Voiceover  00:00

Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. Here’s your host, Alastair McDermott.


Alastair McDermott  00:16

Hello, and welcome to The Recognized Authority. Today we are live broadcasting on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube. And today, I’m delighted to say I have one of my favorite guests from the last season of the podcast back again, Mark Schaefer. So I’m going to skip the bio read. And just give you my thoughts on Mark. Mark is one of I think, the top marketing brains. He’s written, many books that I have really enjoyed, we’re going to talk about his latest book today “Belong to the Brand”. And we’re also going to talk about some other things that I think Mark has some really great insights on. And it’s, he also ran one of my favorite virtual events during the pandemic, there were a lot of virtual events on a lot of mediocre ones. But Mark, and the online version of the uprising was absolutely amazing. So, Mark, I know you know a lot about community. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today. So welcome to the show.


Mark Schaefer  01:12

Thank you so much. It’s great to see you again.


Alastair McDermott  01:15

So before we talk about the book, because I want to spend some time talking about the book, but I just have to chat to you quickly about Chat GPT. Because I know it’s something that you’ve been thinking a lot about recently, you’ve written a little bit about it on your blog. And I just want to talk briefly about how that impacts the people that you and I care about, which is people who are thinking about creation, content creation, and marketing. So can you give us a quick summary of where you think Chat GPT is at and how it’s going to impact on us?


Mark Schaefer  01:49

Yeah, well, I was an early adopter. I mean, I saw it coming on the horizon. I mean, it’s been out there for a couple of years. My my son, for example, has been using that in his in his technology business for about two years. But the difference is you needed to be a coder really to have access to it. And then it rolled out a few months ago in this easy to use format. And it became the fastest adapted technology in the history of the human race. And with good reason. It’s, it’s compelling. It’s, it’s interesting, it’s very useful.  And Alastair, I think, to put it, you know, sort of in perspective, I think Chat GPT does for for writing, creating, and marketing, what the calculator did for math. The calculator did it, you know, made everybody a competent mathematician, even if you hated Math, you know, and we’ve all been better for it. I mean, I haven’t done long math in probably 25 years or more. I’m perfectly happy about that. And this is just the beginning. So I mean, I think everybody in the world has the ability to be a competent, if not excellent creator. I’m hearing about a lot of success stories. As a matter of fact, it’s amazing. Yesterday, I talked to Philip Kotler, Philip Kotler is usually judge one of the top five biggest business thought leaders in the last century. Certainly the father of marketing, and he’s now 91 years old. And he was telling me how he’s using chat GPT to write his new book, help him write his new book. And he’s quite an accomplished writer. I mean, I bet he’s written 60 or 70 books in his life.  And, but even there, there’s someone in my community, Alastair, that is a terrible writer. She just doesn’t have that competency. She, you know, is a stay at home mom and an entrepreneur doesn’t have the time to do it. She discovered Chat GPT said, Guess what? I’m going to blog every day. I’m going to write a book. This has changed my life. So I think it is significant when it came out. I wrote words that I’ve never written before in my life. I said, this changes marketing forever, starting now. I mean, I didn’t even say that with the Internet. It took a couple years for us to figure that out. But I really think applying artificial intelligence to everyday tasks, allowing anybody to do that is it’s just breathtaking. It’s it’s significant. And it’s going to affect the world of creators and the creator economy profile. Probably not necessarily in a good way.


Alastair McDermott  05:03

No, I’ve been talking to some people who feel so there’s there’s a whole range of reactions to it. One of the things that people note is that a lot of the content that it outputs is quite mediocre. And so, and I think that that’s true, when you just ask it to give you something, because what it’s doing is it’s kind of taking the average of human knowledge, and it’s averaging out and giving you that back. So if you ask for that, it’s going to give you that back. But if you do take some time to learn how to use it properly, I think that it and feed it the right input, it can give you back some really, really interesting things.


Mark Schaefer  05:41

Yeah, I think what most people miss, is that, well, if you think about, you know, when the internet started, that was pretty mediocre, too. But I think what most people miss is that artificial intelligence is not going to improve in a linear way, it’s going to improve in an exponential way. I guarantee you. What Google has behind his closed doors is bigger and better than anything Chat GPT or open AI the parent company has its and I mean, I don’t really understand why Google is in a defensive position right now. Because they are clearly the leader in this field. Maybe they were hoping it wouldn’t happen. Because it’s certainly going to change if not jeopardize their traditional search business. But look, you know, your Chat GPT is based on a technology called GPT 3, they already have GT GPT 4, you know, and it has like something like 100 times more information than than Chad GPT. Three is, and, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s up to date with what’s going on in the world now. And so I mean, I think, you know, we just took a baby step. And, you know, I think even by the end of the year, there’s going to be just mind blowing changes, that will, that will, you know, make where we’re at, you know, what, right now look primitive?


Alastair McDermott  07:20

Yeah, I think the, the key thing for me about this is that, it’s about how we approach like the tools that we have now. It’s about how we approach using them. Because it, there’s a phrase that we’ve always used in the world of computers and software engineering, which is garbage in, garbage out. And it comes back to that if you can, if you can figure out how to talk to the AI give it the right prompts, prompt engineering, they call it if you can figure out how to give it good input, and will actually be useful, even right now, even before it makes any more advances. What’s there is is incredible, in terms of the capabilities, and so, so from from the uses that I’ve used, and I’ve only used it a little bit compared to some people, you know, the output has been such such a probably gives me the potential to create exponential output. And that’s what I find amazing about it.


Mark Schaefer  08:20

I think the other thing, I mean, if there’s one, one lesson I want to impart about my takeaway from this, and this is something I’ve been screaming from the rooftops for the last six or seven years, is that the only thing that’s really going to save you in this environment is your personal brand. You know, everybody can use chat GPT but not everybody has an emotional connection to their audience.  I mean, let me just give you an example. I recently just got my first business of a chat GPT somebody searched for top 10 digital marketing experts, and my name was in the top 10. Now, am I one of the top 10 digital marketing experts in the world? Probably not. I could name 10 of my friends that are probably smarter than me. However, I have shown up consistently on you know, through content, blogging, podcasts, books for 15 years. You know, I blog 650 weeks in a row, took a little break for a thing called COVID came back blogged another 150 weeks in a row. So I’m out there, you know, and where, you know, what’s populating Chat GPT it’s what people are, what the content, they’re contributing to the web. So if you’re not creating your personal brand, you’re not going to be showing up in that environment.  The other thing is, is look, the world is going to be so overwhelmed with content I mean, I I know a couple people that that that are you know that wrote Chat GPT books in a day, which, you know, that’s a subject for another day, but they did it right. So the world’s going to be, I’d love to be Kindle Direct Publishing right now. Because there’s going to be so many self published books coming at coming at us, it’s gonna be ridiculous. But I know, I mean, I’m not worried, because I know, people will trust me, they like me because I’ve, I’ve been blogging for so long, I’ve been podcasting for 11 years. This is my 10th book, The one we’re going to talk about today, people trust me, they’re gonna read my book, because they know it’s me. And they know, it’s not going to be Chat GPT, they know it’s going to be me, and my perspective, and the quality that I devote to my books. And that’s, that’s what’s that’s the only thing I know of, that’s going to save creators, because it’s just, you know, the talent that’s gonna be available through AI is just going to get better and better and better.


Alastair McDermott  10:59

Yeah, there’s going to be an I think I’ve heard somebody use the phrase, the sea of sameness, which is a great way to describe this kind of bland, mediocre content, and there’s going to be a lot more of that creative. But the one thing that I haven’t seen in the output that I’ve seen from Chat GPT, is any kind of really insightful perspective on something from from the perspective of a human expert, I think it’s going to be very difficult for to recreate that. And so that’s, that’s the kind of thing that I think that only humans can do now. Now, what we can do is we can feed that in, we can feed that we can feed our personal insights in and get it to help us write about our insights. And I think that’s where it becomes useful. But trying to get it to just produce that without that input. I think that’s where people are falling down and creating all of this mediocre content. And that’s where, exactly what you’re talking about, about becoming known having that personal brand. That’s what’s going to help us to stand out. And Mark has written a whole book about this. For anybody listening. So let’s move on then. Sorry, go ahead.


Mark Schaefer  12:10

Right, it’s right there. Yeah, but I agree with you, at least for the time being. If you create if you’re creating information, you’re vulnerable. If you’re creating insights, you’re okay. So, yeah, so I think that’s a good a good way to kind of tie the ribbon on that conversation.


Alastair McDermott  12:30

Yeah, yeah. And one of the thing, we had a comment from somebody on LinkedIn, and sorry, it doesn’t show your name. It just shows his LinkedIn user. But I’m blown away by it just tried it last night, for the first time in two languages, plus accurate legal advice. The only thing I just want to mention Cha GPT is really, really great at confidently giving incorrect information. So just be really careful about that. Because it does AIs are known for a couple of this is the technical term for hallucinations, where it gives incorrect information stuff that seems to be just completely made up. So just be very careful if we’re using it for anything. Well, actually, anything but specially anything mission critical or anything legal like that. But yeah, so we do have one other comment, I’m going to show up on the screen here. So this is from Max, Max Turner, what strategic services related to leveraging AI will be in demand in the next few years. So you want to take that one, Mark?


Mark Schaefer  13:28

Well, I think the way I look at this is we have to be in a constant state of reinvention, Chat GPT or not. The world is is changing so quickly. And so unexpectedly. I mean, I was recently thinking, if you think about what were the three biggest disruptions in the last, you know, 24 months, it was like a pandemic, that no one saw coming, a war, no one saw coming a ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal, which disrupted the global supply chain for six months and, you know, created havoc all around the world. So I mean, it’s just like, they’re these dramatic, global, unexpected things. And I think the key idea is to look at what are the trends coming at us? What are the mega trends coming at us? Things some things are obvious, we can see like remote work. Mental health is a big issue I’m kind of looking at right now. In fact, that was one of the issues that prompted me to write my new book. And the idea would be how do we take the competencies we have if you have a competency using AI, then how do we apply that to a megatrend? How do we apply that to new consumer needs? That’s what’s going to create the new value as we move forward in the future?


Alastair McDermott  15:04

Yeah, I think it’s quite when I think about a bet that I, well, I think the most important thing to do is for us to understand the capabilities of these systems, so we have to jump in and play around with them just just to understand, okay, I don’t need to know everything about how this works. But I should at least have a good understanding of what the capabilities of the system are. Because then then I’ll know if I’m, if I’m, you know, if I need to move on this. So that I think it is important, I think it is important to kind of a little bit


Mark Schaefer  15:35

Big part of being relevant today is, don’t be hesitant, don’t be afraid, dabble in everything. To be a great leader today, you don’t have to have all the right answers, you have to have all the right questions. You know, how is this relevant to me in my business? How could this be applied? How is this going to change? So it’s yeah, just keep go out there and experiment with courage.


Alastair McDermott  16:02

Yeah, yeah. That’s, that’s a great answer. I like where you phrase that. So. Okay, so let’s, let’s get into the meat of the show. And the thing I really want to talk to you about today is your book. And this this phrase, the one marketing strategy that you can’t afford to ignore? I love that. So can you tell me why is this the one marketing strategy that that we can’t afford to ignore?


Mark Schaefer  16:27

Well, marketing is is broken. I mean, it’s really, really broken. And a big reason for that is that marketers tend to be iterative, they, you know, every year they kind of they’re they do their thing. And then the next year, they want to do a little bit better on their Facebook ads, or a little bit better on their SEO or a little bit better on their headlines, or podcast, or whatever they’re doing. Meanwhile, our customers have the accumulated knowledge of the human race in the palm of their hands. They don’t really need us like they used to they’d and they certainly don’t want to be manipulated, or annoyed with with ads. We’re in a streaming economy. You know, just my own experience. And this is probably relevant to you, too. I mean, I watch more TV than I’ve ever watched in my life. There’s so many options. At the end of the day, I’m really tired. My wife and I will go on to Netflix, or we’re going to Amazon Prime, and we’ll stream our favorite shows. I listened to music all the time, by listening to Spotify, never hear an ad, never seen an ad on TV. listen to audiobooks never hear an ad. And and my advertising consumption has gone down by 95% in the last five years, I think in America, there’s only one day a year as a really irrelevant. That’s the Super Bowl, we have these amazing ads, and then everybody talks about it. And then everybody tries to avoid ads until the next Super Bowl,


Alastair McDermott  18:09

but they’re not even ads. They’re because they’re the content at that.


Mark Schaefer  18:13

Yeah, yeah, it’s creating something conversational. And I mean, they’re, they’re, there will always be some place for for advertising in the world. But I mean, long story short, most marketing is just not working. It’s, it’s almost invisible. And what I encourage people to do in my marketing rebellion book, was that served as a wake up call, it’s like, wake up, stop what you’re doing and look up and see what is really happening in the world. Now, one of the chapters in that book was about belonging, and community. I was trying to get people to put down their algorithms and their automations and their spam for a minute to look at what is the heart of our customers? What are those universal needs that we can tap into, in marketing, and one of those was belonging, and community. And I predicted, this is going to be a very important part of the marketing portfolio going forward. Well, I had no idea how fast that would happen. Because one year later, the pandemic hit. And all we had basically was on line communities. We were locked down. We were locked out of our relationships, and people assembled in online communities and companies started to respond that with that, too, it took them a while.  The beginning of the pandemic, all these you know, all these, like I said, you know, sick, sick marketers. They all said the same thing. We are with you in these unprecedented times, which was absolutely ridiculous. They just couldn’t unlock themselves. From these ridiculous ad agencies, but eventually, the best companies rolled up their sleeves and said, What can we do? What can we do to really get down in the community and help? And those are the companies we’re going to remember coming out of the pandemic. So all these things are coming together. I think these mega trends of marketing doesn’t work like it used to. I think the second big mega trend is mental health, where people are less, less connected, or isolated, or lonely, more depressed than ever. The statistics are absolutely stunning. They need community, our customers are longing to belong.  Then the third mega trend is technology. Millions and millions of dollars are being poured into things like web three, Metaverse, NFT, which is, you know, still confusing to everybody. But if you look, if you cut through all the jargon, what these investments are really doing is giving us new ways to belong, and young people are surging into these spaces. So these three trends come together. And I think, you know, it seems like my prediction is very bold. That community is the last great marketing strategy. But I will have one little mic drop moment with you, Alastair. The day I wrote the last words of my book, last year, finished the manuscript. McKinsey came out with a major research report that said, community is the next big thing in marketing. So, you know, I think I nailed it. I see, I, the thing I’m good at is seeing how trends come together, and then determining where we need to be next. So you know, I’m sure I’m right. And I think if people read the book and think about this and adopt it early, it can really create competitive advantage.


Alastair McDermott  22:06

Okay, so assuming that you’re writing, and I have no reason to think that you’re not assuming that you’re right. Like, how can people who are watching this or listening to this actually put that into practice? Because people who are who are who are watching or listening to this, they are usually experts have some kind there. Maybe they’ve dabbled in content creation in putting posts on LinkedIn, they might be thinking about starting a podcast or a YouTube channel or something like that. And they’re probably wondering, like, okay, I get a community, but what can I actually do? Like, what are practical steps I can take to do this. So can you talk a little bit about how you think that people can approach this?


Mark Schaefer  22:44

Well, most communities fail. So let’s just be right upfront about that. And the main reason they fail, is because the intention behind the community is to sell stuff. We all need to sell stuff. But selling things is not a reason for people to gather. So if you’re creating a community, simply because you’re trying to make your quarterly sales goals, that probably isn’t going to work. And that’s the mistake most companies make the most successful communities. Alastair come when there’s an intersection between the purpose of the company and the interest and the purpose of the customers, or your fans or your audience, or whatever community you’re trying to build.  So if you can think about, what am I trying to accomplish in this world? And how can I accomplish it better, faster, be more impactful, if my customers or audience or fans or donors, whoever your community is, if they came alongside me, how could we do this? In a better way? That’s what it really gets gets down to. I’ll give you an example from my own life. So I love marketing, and I love being immersed in what’s coming next. What are the next ideas? And what are the next trends and how, you know, how do we get ready for this? How do we stay relevant? So I created a community and it’s, it’s on Discord, and it’s open to marketers. And it’s free. And so we get in there and we talk about what’s next. And the reason I was early in the Chat GPT because I learned about it in this group. The reason I was early on creating AI generated art was because people were showing me demonstrations of this amazing thing in my community. So and we’re doing experiments in the metaverse, and we’re learning how to give presentations in in the metaverse. So every article I write every speech I give has some nugget that’s coming And out of this community, we’re all learning, we’re all growing, growing.  So for me, it’s helping me be a better educator, the to be a better writer to be a better consultant. And it’s helping my community grow, because we’re all in there thinking about it together. So that’s a reason to meet. Because we all want to learn, we all want to be relevant. And you know, we all want to support each other in this journey. And that’s where it needs to start is what is the unifying purpose?


Alastair McDermott  25:34

Yeah, so and, like you said, most communities are failing, because they’ve got that, that purpose of wanting to make money, and that’s just not going to work. It’s not going to cut it anymore. So, So how then, because so I think that a lot of people who are, who are self employed in particular, they’re thinking about, okay, where’s my next project coming from? Where’s my next client coming from? And they’re not really thinking about their overall purpose in terms of this kind of wider, kind of deeper meaning. They’re just thinking, okay, like, I’ve got to pay the bills next month, and my cost of living is going up across the board. When you’re talking to people about that, like, what what do you talk to them about in terms of purpose?


Mark Schaefer  26:21

Well, community is not, it’s not a fast or easy way to revenue. But let’s think about what it is. So there are two different kinds of marketing.  One is direct marketing. If you need fast revenue, then that’s what you need to do. You need to advertise, you need to promote, you need to have coupons, you need to have, you know, promotions, you need to, you know, I don’t know, you have events in your community or something. I mean, those are all that’s direct marketing. The other that’s very easy to measure to, you know, you take out an ad, and you can see how much revenue you get. And so okay, it’s easy to measure.  The other type of marketing is, is brand marketing. So, when I say Coca Cola, most people think of polar bears. Coca Cola has spent millions and millions of dollars to distract people from thinking about, you know, sugar, brown colored sugar water, it’s not good for you to create this feeling. This expectation of what Coca Cola means, that’s brand marketing. Does that sell more coke? Yes, it does. Can you measure it? Probably not. You know, what’s the ROI of care of cartoon? Polar bears?  All right. So, community is really about the emotional connection. It’s about the long term relationships. But let me give you a description of how this works in terms of creating a business. What you what many creators might be thinking right now is okay. This is one way we can think about marketing, but it also can be a way to think about your business. So for example, in this book, in chapter four, I did something I’ve never done before in my life. This is my 10th book that I’ve written, belonging to the brand. In chapter four, I devote the whole chapter to one person, okay, this is a woman, she’s an entrepreneur, she was very successful. And then she got pregnant. And she was conflicted. Because some people in our life, were saying, you can’t give up this business and other people in our life were saying, You got to be a full time mom. And she wanted to do both. And she didn’t really feel supported. So she was expressing these ideas in a Facebook group. And some other people started agree with her. She said, Let’s start our own group called boss mom and support each other and teach each other how to do this. Okay.  Now, long story short, she started this in 2016. Today, she has nearly 80,000 members in her community. She’s driving about a million dollars in revenue through this community, because they’re buying whatever she’s creating. She’s creating videos and workshops and classes, and events and consulting. And she’s got like a premium paid level. And she doesn’t have to sell. She doesn’t have to market. She has no marketing and advertising budget whatsoever. So think about this. It’s the ultimate marketing. It’s the ultimate lead generation with no marketing because it’s built on the relationships in this community. So she’ll never have to sell anything again. And so, so there, but it’s not quick, you know, it doesn’t come quickly. She’s worked. She’s worked very, very hard to build that community. But I’d like to offer this idea that all marketing is hard. Look, see this gray hair? I can say with some authority, Alastair, that all marketing is hard. So if you’re going to spend time on marketing, why not, you know, create something that that works? I see one of the questions in the chat, or said, what’s the name of the book, again, is “Belonging to the Brand” is it’s over my right, there’s over my shoulder.


Alastair McDermott  30:46

And I’ve actually got that up on the screen as well.


Mark Schaefer  30:48

So the brand why community is the last great marketing strategy. It’s available on paper, hardback Kindle, and I also narrate the audio book.


Alastair McDermott  30:59

Awesome. So okay, so let’s talk a little bit about some of the, the tactical difference in particular between audience and community, because I think a lot of us already have an audience, but don’t have community. So can you tell me a little bit about how you how you see the difference there? And how we can actually transform an audience into a community? Any actionable steps yet? Do you have any tips would be really, really useful?


Mark Schaefer  31:27

Yeah, that’s a great question. So most creators and business owners, many of the people listening today, they’re probably active on social media, maybe on Twitter, maybe on LinkedIn, maybe even YouTube. So that’s great. Because when you’re active on social media, you have the opportunity to connect with people from all around the world, is how you and I got connected, right? It’s awesome. People that we’ve never known before.  But from a marketing standpoint, that is a weak relational link. I have like 180,000 followers on Twitter. If I put out a tweet that says, Hey, everybody, buy my new book, how many new? How many books? Am I going to sell? Almost none. Because it’s like, throwing a message in the bottle out into an ocean? You know, who knows who’s gonna see it? The smart thing is, how do we bring those social media connections into our audience, they become part of our audience, when they subscribe to our blog, our podcast, our live stream, our video series, our you know, our YouTube channel or Instagram account. Now, they’re because they’re part of our audience. And in a virtual way, they’re saying, I believe in you, I want to hear more from you. So there’s a much deeper emotional connection.  Unfortunately, Alastair, that’s where most people stop what I’m suggesting in this book, take it to the next step. Bring them into a community because that is the ultimate emotional connection that occurs when people in your community get to know each other. When they start building friendships and bonds, they start to collaborate, co-create, share ideas, now, it creates a layer of emotional switching costs between you and everybody else, people aren’t going to leave you, because this is where their friends are.  So great branding, like the polar bear example, is about creating an emotional connection between what we do and our customers, or maybe even our potential customers. I mentioned early on, when we were talking about Chat GPT, the only thing that’s going to save me in this environment is because I have a strong personal brand. People have a feeling about me, they they you know, they believe in me, they trust me, they’re going to keep coming back to me and the the ultimate way to establish that connection is through community.


Alastair McDermott  34:16

One of the things that you mentioned there is the interaction between people in the community, between your audience members, when they start to connect with each other. I think that’s really one of those crucial points. It’s not it’s not all inward to you that they’re starting to get those cross connections. And that’s when it starts to become a community. How do you encourage that? Like, is it about setting up a discord or is are there some other ways that you can do that apart from you know, Discord servers and things like that that might be might be something that people are familiar with?


Mark Schaefer  34:51

Well, I mean, many communities start in real life. There’s an example in the book of a of a friend of mine over in the Born with England who had a traditional marketing agency, and he had a group of friends that met for lunch every month, I think there were six of them. And these were people who were interested in his newsletter. So they would talk about business and marketing. And it was so interesting. People started to bring their friends. So soon they had a whole table. And a couple of months, they had a whole room. And Mark said, let’s, let’s formalize this, let’s you know, have these discuss these discussions in a, in a more formal way.  So that’s an example of a community that’s that, that started in real life. And almost every community, even an online community has some in real life component, to really reinforce those emotions. Communities almost always start with just people who know you. It could be friends, they could be customers, where you just share some common interest. And you say, this is this is fascinating. Let’s, let’s do this together.  My community is meeting on Discord. Because that’s where my community wanted to meet. I didn’t really I don’t really like discord. I’m starting to like it more. But but but the community said, this is the best place if we’re going to learn about the future of marketing. We should be, we should be doing this on Discord. So I said, Okay. And this is an important idea about leadership, when it comes to community, it’s a lot different than what we learned at the university. It’s about giving up control. It’s about letting the community take you where it needs to take you to be relevant. In this world, my original vision of where I wanted to take my community is much different than where it actually is today. Because the community, I’ve got people all over the world, challenging me with new ideas. And, you know, they’re in Australia, and they’re in Belgium, and they’re and, and they’re in, you know, Asia, they’re in Singapore, and, and they’re saying, Look at this, look at this, look at what we’re learning. And it’s just made the whole community so much better and so much richer and think about scaling that for you. Or scaling that for any brand. To have, like people all over the world telling you how you can be better. It’s incredible.


Alastair McDermott  37:34

Yeah, like I really liked the idea of in person events. I’m not sure how scalable that is, because I’m certainly not in a centralized location. I’m here on the west coast of Ireland in a very rural, rural place.


Mark Schaefer  37:46

Yeah, I remember I remember us talking about that.


Alastair McDermott  37:49

So I think I would need to travel in order to to be able to meet up with with people. But one thing that I’ve done before, and I probably need to do more of that is I have had zoom meetups, where there’s nothing really formal, it’s not like I’m not delivering a webinar or anything like that. It’s it’s get people on and just have a chat with people who are in my own personal community. And, and that’s something I’m going to do a bit more of, particularly now that I’ve started doing, these are live broadcasts, you and I have actually interacted with people who are watching this. And we’ve answered some questions for people who have been watching this on LinkedIn. And I think that that’s already making those kind of those small steps towards community, and all of those little things that we’re doing. So, but But definitely, in person events. That’s, that’s something I’ve thought a lot about. I would love to do. Like I mentioned at the start of the show, I mentioned your, your online virtual events at the uprising, which was hands down the best virtual event that I that I attended during the pandemic. And, you know, apart from maybe the family table quiz that we did, but it was a little bit more alcohol involved in that one. But the, the the uprising and you’re doing that in person actually in Ireland this year, so I’m going to come along in September. Looking forward to that.


Mark Schaefer  39:11

Yeah, well, you know, here’s the thing that’s amazing is that many people who have never met before, from my online community, we’re going to meet up in in Ireland at at a castle I’m renting out the whole darn castle. Because if I’m bringing this event to Ireland, it’s gonna be in a castle. And we’re gonna do falconry. We’re gonna go full medieval, so if you if anyone’s interested. You can my website is businesses grow as You click on Events, you can find I have an event in America, I have one in Ireland. You know, it’s it’s, it’s a guarantee. It’ll be the best marketing experience, the best learning experience you’ve you’ve ever had. It’s intimate and limited to 30 people So we have, you know, we think we we think through what’s coming next, how do we how do we be relevant? How do we help each other, you walk away with 29 new friends that are going to help you and support you be relevant in your career, and we have a lot of fun. So, yeah, it’s an awesome event. I can’t wait to do it in Ireland, it’s been stalled a few times because of COVID. But now we’re going to do it. And yeah, it’s an it’s going to be in September.


Alastair McDermott  40:31

Cool. And I’m going to put a link for anybody listening on the podcast, I’m going to put a link to that in the shownotes and a link to belong to the brand, which is Mark’s new book, and to his website, Mark, I like to put a link in there to your Discord server as well. So that’s where I’ll get that off afterwards. So okay, I’m gonna wrap up. I just want to, to ask you one last thing about the future of this. That’s something that we’re talking a lot about, as we’re talking about these mega trends of AI and mental health and things like that. Like, what, what, what would you recommend as the number one tip that you would give? Because there’s so many different actions we can take? What’s the number one tip that you would recommend to somebody who’s listening to this? And is some sort of independent expert, what would you say, Hey, this is where you should go next, or I think you should go next.


Mark Schaefer  41:24

This is the first step. I really believe this is the first step. The subtitle of my marketing rebellion book is the most human company wins. That’s kind of become my my theme song. And I truly believe that this is true, that, you know, you know, I’ll give you an example. There was a guy on LinkedIn. And he said, Oh, look at this amazing explainer video that I did using AI. So I clicked on this thing. And it’s sort of like, this robotic animation and this robotic voice. And it was all very cool. And I’m sure the guy was really proud of it. But I wrote him back, I said, you know, I just like to see you explain it. I just want to see your, your face, and I want to hear your voice. But want to hear the passion behind why this is so important to you and how it’s going to help people. And I think he ignored my advice. But but but in this world, where we’re obsessed with, you know, automation and algorithms, and you know, artificial intelligence, we still need human connection. And I think what we need to do, everyone listening is take a look at what how you’re showing up in the world. If you’re doing things that people hate, like spamming them, stop, and double down on the things that people love, like community, like engaging with them as a real person, like putting real pictures on your website of you and your customers. Instead of, you know, ethnically diverse, people holding hands, jumping through a field of flowers, you know, stock photos, take all the stock photos down at a video on your about page and just say, This is me. And this is what I do. And this is why I love it and what why I want to do it for you, your competitors probably aren’t doing that. And you’ll have an edge. You know, how can you become the most human? You know, whatever. podcaster the most human Symfony, the most human insurance company, the most human University? Just think about everything you do. And think about how can I add my face? My smile, my voice so that people can see how much I care?


Alastair McDermott  43:57

I don’t think I can follow that with any with anything. That is That is perfect. It’s the only thing that your competitors can fake is being you. So that’s right. Mark Schaefer, thank you so much. Marks new book is belong to the brand, why community is the last great marketing strategy. All the links will be in the show notes. Wherever you find this episode. You can click through and find Mark’s book and his Discord server and everything else that we talked about the link to the uprising Europe, which is the event that’s on at the end of September in Ireland. Mark, thank you so much. Is there? Where should people go if they want to find out more than one find your blog?


Mark Schaefer  44:35

Yeah, I mentioned. If you can remember Businesses Grow. You don’t even have to remember my name. It’s You can find my blog, my podcast, the marketing companion. We’re now in our 11th year and you can find all my books and my social connections. And if you follow me on LinkedIn, I follow everybody back.


Alastair McDermott  44:58

Awesome. Well Mark, thank you for are being the second person on the livestream version of the podcast and really do appreciate you coming on and being a guinea pig. So thanks for coming on.


Mark Schaefer  45:06

Thank you Alastair.


Alastair McDermott  45:10

Thanks for listening, I know that you’ve got a choice of podcasts and shows that you can listen to. So I really do appreciate your time and your attention. If you did find this episode interesting, I would truly appreciate if you could take 30 seconds to rate the show in your podcast player or even leave a text review. It won’t take you long but it has a huge impact on the growth of the show. And it also helps to motivate me and continuing to do it. So it’s right where you’re listening to the show. You can also find a link in the show notes which will take you to rate and review. Thank you again. See you in the next one.

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